A view on the methods and outputs

Economic analyses may have a large number of inputs. There are multiple aspects that may be affected by a new health technology and each must be properly evaluated and analysed. Analysis of costs may also need to allow for price fluctuations or other factors. There is frequently no one right way to combine data; a sound evaluation will use multiple approaches and compare the impact of the chosen methods of analysis on the results.

While a cost-effectiveness analysis could be based on the costs and outcomes observed from a single study, this is rarely the case. More often, analyses are based on a number of different sources of information and this information is mathematically processed.

The best way for an HTA body to ensure an analysis is balanced and adheres to guidelines is to do the economic evaluation on a case-by-case basis. However, this can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavour. While some HTA bodies do create their own models and analyses, most do not, due to the expenses and time required.

The following questions can be used to guide assessment of the usefulness of a cost-effectiveness analysis:

1.      Were the right treatment options compared?

2.      Were all relevant costs included?

3.      Were guidelines used?

4.      What was the source of the effectiveness information?

5.      Was an original study undertaken or is this a review of economic evaluations that have been performed by others?